Feeling trapped in a dire situation or circumstance with no foreseeable exit only distresses the mind. It could be any situation or circumstance, such as getting an unwanted pregnancy, having several children early in a marriage saddled with many financial burdens but with no vocational skill, being stuck in a bad love relationship with no way out, and many other despairing and despondent situations.
Adversity and loss
Adversity and loss are inevitable in life. Adversity may come in many different forms, such as accidents, injuries, and diseases; while loss can be physical loss, such as loss of mobility, material loss, such as loss of a home due to foreclosure, mental loss, such as loss of memory, spousal loss, such as separation or bereavement, and spiritual loss, such as loss of life purpose and meaningful existence in life.
Inactivity and lack of goals
An inactive individual is more vulnerable to depression, because that individual spends most of his or her time drifting about and doing nothing in particular. By the same token, an individual lacking life goals ceases to struggle in life—that may explain why depression is more frequent among the senior and the elderly. Man is basically a goal-seeking creature. Therefore, after reaching one goal, an individual should set another higher goal in order to avoid the feeling of being letdown after the achievement of the goal, and thus setting off a depression.
The bottom line: never stay in a mental vacuum; always keep yourself mentally and physically busy and engaged, with something to look forward to. Remember, happy people always have strong goals, which have little to do with money, according to Earl Nightingale, an American author and motivational speaker.
Regret and self-pity
A depressed individual often looks back at the past with anger and bitterness, accompanied by regret and self-pity. "What if" and "I wish it were" are always on the mind of that depressed individual, wishing things were different. Regret and self-pity always go hand in hand with that depressed individual.
Biological malfunction and chemical imbalance
Of course, with the advancement of modern medicine, medical authorities have now attributed many cases of depression to biological malfunction, such as an abnormal thyroid, or imbalance of certain brain chemicals. However, it should be pointed out that it is difficult to determine whether it is the thinking mind or the chemical imbalance that actually causes the biological malfunctioning. The explanation is that an individual's own negative or self-destructive thinking patterns may also ultimately lead to the chemical and hormonal imbalance in that individual.
Therefore, we should always look at the whole picture, and not just a part of it; after all, depression is a complex and complicated disease of the mind, and we are also living in a world of depression.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau